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March 14, 2020

COVID-19 closures stack up in Tampa Bay as a precaution against coronavirus

By Laura Byrne

In a joint statement, some of Tampa’s favorite museums and attractions announced they will all close Monday, March 16-Sunday, March 29 as a precaution against COVID-19/coronavirus.

Glazer Children’s Museum, the Florida Aquarium, Tampa Museum of Art, Henry B Plant Museum and MOSI are joining other big attractions like the Tampa Bay History Center, Adventure Island, Busch Gardens, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, and Legoland in closing their doors in an effort to protect the public from the spread of coronavirus, even though no cases have been detected at any of the locations.

The City of Tampa also just announced its Parks and Recreation Department will close all facilities and pools starting today as a precaution. This includes scheduled spring break camps, Stay and Play, programs and events. City parks will remain open until further notice. Learn more here.

On Sunday, ZooTampa and Clearwater Marine Aquarium followed suit and announced temporary closures.

Related: Coronavirus stories in Tampa Bay

COVID-19: Expert Advice from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

How to sanitize your house: Tips from a pediatric infectious disease physician

How to talk to your kids about Coronavirus 

Statements from Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa Museum of Art, MOSI, Henry B Plant Museum and Florida Aquarium

Tampa, FL – Based on the most current information from public health officials, and in support of community efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), The Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa Museum of Art, Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Henry B. Plant Museum and The Florida Aquarium will temporarily close to the public beginning Monday, March 16 through Sunday, March 29.

There have been no known incidents of COVID-19 at the five museums and today’s collective action is voluntary.

“We recognize the importance of working together to ensure the well-being of our community remains a priority,” said Michael Tomor, Penny and Jeff Vinik Executive Director of the Tampa Museum of Art.

“Our organizations are still a resource to you even while our buildings are closed. Many of us have online materials, activities, and more to keep you connected during these two weeks,” said Sarah Cole, President and CEO of the Glazer Children’s Museum.

“The ability to support one’s community extends well beyond the exhibit path, classrooms and outreach programs,” said Julian Mackenzie, President and CEO of MOSI. “Being able to work together with other venues shows us what a great community of cultural attractions we have here in Tampa.”

“We recognize that our world-class organizations serve an important role by providing inspiration and inquiry, as well as providing an escape from daily challenges, however, this is an unprecedented event and the temporary closures place the health and well-being of our greater community first,” said Roger Germann, President and CEO of The Florida Aquarium.

“Prior to the coronavirus, the most serious pandemic in the US took place in the late Victorian era. Given our historical focus, we believe we need to be especially sensitive to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic can have on our community,” said Cynthia Gandee Zinober, Executive Director of the Henry B. Plant Museum.

“We as museum boards are taking the necessary precautions we need to keep our community safe and keep our citizens healthy. We deeply care for the families we serve, who remain our top priority as a member of the arts community,” said Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman. Commissioner Murman is the current chair of the board at The Glazer Children’s Museum and serves as a trustee for The Florida Aquarium and The Tampa Museum of Art.

Staff at all five cultural attractions will be paid their full compensation per their regular work schedule for the two-week period.

Joint quote from the five CEO’s/Directors:

“This was a very difficult decision and we understand our members, guests and supporters might be disappointed, but we believe adhering to the scientific community’s recommendation to limit large social gatherings at this time is the right course of action. We look forward to welcoming our guests back and continuing to provide world-class experiences, amazing exhibits and impactful educational opportunities which makes Tampa’s cultural attractions iconic and beloved.”

Stay up to date by following each organization’s website and social media channels: 

Glazer Children’s Museum: www.glazermuseum.org

Tampa Museum of Art: www.tampamuseum.org

Museum of Science and Industry: www.mosi.org

Henry B. Plant Musuem: www.plantmuseum.com

The Florida Aquarium: www.flaquarium.org


Statement from ZooTampa

For the past several weeks, ZooTampa has been closely monitoring the unprecedented and rapidly changing COVID19/coronavirus situation and taking extra precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of our guests, employees and animals.   In consultation with City of Tampa officials and following the recommendations from Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, ZooTampa will be temporarily closed starting Monday, March 16th through Sunday, March 29th.

The more than 1,100 animals who live at our Zoo will continue to receive the same superior care, veterinary oversight and enriching opportunities daily- a standard that is never compromised.

Additionally, our employees will be reassigned to conduct annual maintenance, general cleaning and preparations for reopening. We will continue to encourage and educate staff on proper hygiene procedures and social distancing. We are also committed to providing staff with flexible personal leave options should they require time off.

We truly appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during this time. Our thoughts go out to all who have been affected by the COVID-19/coronavirus situation.

Statement from Clearwater Marine Aquarium:

While the work of our mission to rescue, rehab, and release marine life continues, we regret to inform you that our facility will be closing to all guests, effective Monday, March 16th. We tentatively plan to re-open to the public on March 27th at 10:00 a.m.

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff, volunteers, interns, or from any of our visitors. This decision has been made to ensure social responsibility and the health and security of our community.

As a working marine life hospital, our work never stops. We will continue to provide the best care available to all our rescued, rehab, and resident animals even though we are closed to the public. Our veterinary staff is monitoring the situation, but there is no indication that there is a risk of COVID-19 transmission from humans to animals in our care or that it poses any threat to them. All essential on-site staff remain following strict sanitation procedures to ensure the health and safety of those continuing to care for our animals.

We invite you to watch our webcams and engage with us on social for educational content and behind-the-scenes views. Please visit our website, seewinter.com, for current information on CMA operations.



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